Ahead of the weekend in Barcelona, Aston Martin brought many upgrades to their car, and these upgrades definitely sparked some sort of controversy.
The similarities between the Red Bull and Aston were so similar, that FIA decided to conduct their own investigation over it, to make sure Aston did not breach regulations aimed at protecting the intellectual property.
These specific regulations were introduced in 2020, after Aston, previously Racing Point, was found guilty of illegally copying the Mercedes rear brake ducts from 2019. FIA’s “investigation” was concluded on Friday, as the governing body decided Aston Martin’s upgrades were designed in compliance with rules.
Because of that, Red Bull will conduct their own internal investigation based on software protection protocols, to make sure there was no ill intend. What’s the fuss about though? Well, in recent weeks there has been a chunk of people leaving Red Bull and moving to Aston. These people include Andrew Alessi, who joined as head of technical operations and Dan Fallows, who joined as technical director.
Christian Horner, the Team Principal of Red Bull was definitely not happy with the outcome. In an interview with Sky Sports F1 he said: “We know what software is looked at, where that software is controlled.
“But I think it’s down to the regulator because they have the access. And we rely very heavily on them to ensure there’s no transfer of IP, that there has been no abuse of that.
“It’s very much their job to police that.
“What we want to ensure, and we have a duty to do, is ensure no IP has in anyway transferred from one organisation to another, because that would be very much a breach of the rules.”
In relation to the transfer of staff and discovering the similarities, he said: “It’s no coincidence that we’ve had a few individuals who have transferred to Red Bull to Aston Martin over the winter and the early part of this season.
“It was actually brought to our attention earlier in the week by the FIA, they said we’ve got a car that looks remarkably like yours, can we have a list of your leavers to see where they went. That immediately raised alarm bells.
“It is permissible, we see it up and down the pitlane, moves from team to team after a garden leave period. And what they take in their heads, is fair game. That’s their knowledge.
“What isn’t fair, and what is totally unacceptable, which we wouldn’t accept, is if there’s been any transfer of IP at all.”
The internal investigation will take some time to conduct, but regardless of the actual outcome of it, it will definitely be interesting how it will pan out.